The Sharks have confirmed that Juan Martin Hernandez has been ruled out of this year's Super 14 through injury, thus bringing a premature end to his career with the Durban-based franchise.
The Pumas fly-half, who joined the Sharks on a one-year deal from Stade Francais last summer, requires surgery on a back problem and will not be fit to return before the expiry of his current contract in May.
"The loss of Juan to The Sharks comes as a great disappointment to us, obviously," said Sharks head coach John Plumtree. "He was an integral part of our backline during the Currie Cup and his development and integration in the team was set to reach new heights during this year's Super 14, after having spent the last six months with the squad.
"He was a consummate professional who was well-liked by his team-mates, and in turn had embraced the culture of The Sharks with relish, having enjoyed his stay with us immensely. We will certainly miss him, not only as a player but also a true gentleman of the game."
Hernandez is expected to return to France in May to link up with Parisian outfit Racing Metro 92.